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Hassan's comments were widely derided online. Photo AFP

 

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has come under fire for remarks about women footballers having “flat chests” and suggesting they would not be attractive candidates for marriage.

Hassan made the comments at a ceremony on Sunday to celebrate the victory of a national men’s team in a regional football championship, where ironically she also called for better funding for women’s sports.

“For those who have flat chests, you might think they are men and not women,” she said at Sunday’s event.

“And if you look at their faces you might wonder … because if you want to marry, you want someone who is attractive, a lady who has the qualities that you want.”

She added that for the women footballers “those qualities have disappeared”.

Hassan, who took office in March after the sudden death of her predecessor John Magafuli, is the only serving female head of state in Africa alongside Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, whose role is mainly ceremonial.

“Today they are making us proud as a nation when they bring trophies to the country but if you look at their lives in the future, when the legs are tired from playing, when they don’t have the health to play, what life will they be living?” she said.

“The life of marriage is like a dream to them. Because even if one of you here takes them home as your wife, your mother will ask if they are a woman or a fellow man.”

Hassan’s comments were widely derided online.

“The comment by president @SuluhuSamia on women footballers is a humiliation to all women,” said Catherine Ruge, the head of the women’s wing of the opposition Chadema party and former MP.

“All women deserve respect.”

Maria Sarungi, the founder of civil society group Change Tanzania, echoed that view.

“So all those cheering a female presidency…@SuluhuSamia is denigrating female football players for having ‘flat chests’ and thus lacking attractive features necessary to get married. You must be proud @AWLNetwork,” she tweeted, referring to the African Women Leaders Network. - AFP/Al Jazeera

Photo FIBA

 

CAIRO (Egypt) - Algeria point guard Loubna Ferikh on Sunday was full of excitement to end the FIBA U16 Women's African Championship with a medal courtesy of a Third-Place 53-51 win over Uganda.

The feat makes it the first podium finish for Algeria in all three editions they have participated in.

The Rouiba Club Basketball of Algeria player had every reason to celebrate being the Captain of the side.

"The game against Uganda was a tough one but I am very happy that we won. This win means a lot to us because this is the first time Algeria will make it to the podium. That is enough for us to be excited," she told FIBA.basketball at the conclusion of the Third-Place Game at Cairo Arena.

The 1.78m (5ft 7in) who turned 16 on January 3rd, stated that the win will help set the bar for Algerian women's basketball.

Ferikh was not the only one celebrating on Sunday as fourth-placed Uganda were not left out.

The determination Uganda showed was thrilling as they nearly left Algeria in tears in the last quarter of the game when they closed the points margin to 52-50 inside the fourth quarter with just 45 seconds left on the clock.

Uganda captain Darlene Tashobya added that there is a need for her to celebrate because of the experience she gathered from the championship. "My experience from the championship in Cairo had been good. I have learned a lot and plenty to take back home to help me improve in the game."

Uganda coach Rodgers Sevinigho admitted that his team started preparation late but the team impressed him with their performance.

The Championship in Cairo marks the second appearance for Uganda having finished fifth in the 2019 edition held in Kigali, Rwanda. - FIBA

A social media post purportedly shows Ugandan weightlifter Julius Sekitoleko in an undated photo at an unnamed location. Photo via Facebook - Chance Tsindika

 

KAMPALA, UGANDA - Ugandan authorities have detained weightlifter Julius Sekitoleko after he disappeared last week from the Olympic Games in Japan. His case is odd, as Sekitoleko did not qualify for the Ugandan Olympic team, and no one can explain why he was flown to Tokyo.
   
Ugandan authorities say they will likely grant bail to the 20-year-old weightlifter after he spent four days in detention but that he still may face charges.
 
Sekitoleko was deported to Uganda last week, after he was arrested by police in Japan’s Mie Prefecture. Police went looking for him after he disappeared from the Ugandan Olympic team’s training camp in Izumisano, in Osaka, Japan.   
 
Sekitoleko competes in the elite category of 56 and 57 kilograms and has previously represented Uganda in tournaments in Kenya, Morocco and Australia. He did not qualify for this year’s Olympics.
 
Charles Twiine, spokesperson for Uganda’s Criminal Investigations Department, told journalists Monday that an investigation was launched to determine why Sekitoleko was flown to Japan with his coach.
 
“What is visibly clear here, is that there’s a probable fraud of airlifting a person with full knowledge that he had not qualified. To go and participate well knowing he is not going to participate. Now the fundamental question is, was he part of the fraud as a conspirator and it’s the reason why we are having him,” Twiine said.
   
The athlete’s wife, Desire Nampeewo, who is five months pregnant, told VOA she hoped that the government would “rehabilitate” her husband. Nampeewo said she was surprised that officials want to charge him instead.
 
She said life has not been easy for the athlete as he he isn’t financially stable, his life has been a struggle, he sleeps on the floor and doesn’t have enough food suitable for an athlete. She said he really wanted to participate but lost his mind when he was told he didn’t qualify and started wandering unconsciously. She said he even wanted to kill himself.
   
Mark Namanya, a Ugandan sports analyst, says the athlete’s disappearance from the training camp is not a new thing. He argues that many athletes who represent Uganda at the highest level come from very deprived backgrounds and see tournaments as a way out.
 
“It’s an opportunity for them to start a new life. I was in Australia three years ago. Uganda sent, I think it’s biggest team to the Commonwealth Games and five athletes vanished. I can tell you with certainty that Sekitoleko’s case is neither the first nor the last,” Namanya said.
 
It is not clear what charges may be filed against Sekitoleko.
 
Investigating officers say they continue to record statements from the Olympic Committee and will wait for officials currently in Japan to return to explain why Sekitoleko was allowed to travel. - Halima Athumani, Voice of America

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